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Gmail Offline Mode Launched

Gordon Kelly by

Gmail Offline Mode Launched

Other than its farcical beta staus (over four years and counting) Gmail is really rather good... and it's just gotten even better.

Showing it can compete with desktop clients like Microsoft Outlook and Thunderbird on their own turf, Gmail now has a highly welcome offline mode. By using the potentially game changing Google Gears - which has already been integrated into Google Documents and Chrome - it means Gmail users can open their accounts in their browser, search email and even compose replies offline. All performed actions are then synchronised with Gmail the moment the computer goes online.

In essence Google has seamlessly made Gmail both an online web service and an offline desktop email client at a single stroke. In fact, the new functionality even comes into effect when you're using a slow or unreliable Internet connection with 'flaky connection mode'. With this Gmail will use local cache as if you were disconnected, but still synchronizes your mail with the server in the background as and when the connection is available. Clever stuff.

To get Gmail offline feature you simply need to enable Google Labs, then go to settings, select 'Enable' next to 'Offline Gmail' and save the changes. As ever Google is rolling out the feature incrementally (US and UK users are prioritised), so the option may not be there immediately - but patience young grasshoppers.

Rivals feel free to start shaking any time...


Google Blog Official Announcement

Go to comments

Brian ONeill

January 28, 2009, 7:14 pm

I use outlook, but what i do is have gmail pick up all my email from my 3 pop accounts. I then download the email from gmail into outlook.

The benifit of this is that gmail has excellant spam filtering, and i also have a backup of all my email i can access on the go.

I now have very clean email, and automatic backup :-)


January 28, 2009, 7:35 pm

I look forward to see "Google Religion" project uprising. I'll be the first one to Google's new church! Oh holy Google, i can't but adore you.


January 28, 2009, 7:55 pm

@Brian - have to ask: why not just cut Outlook out of the equation completely? Gmail itself can archive email, it's far faster and doesn't use up the resources of Outlook...

Plus, now it works offline!


January 28, 2009, 8:20 pm

I just use Mozilla Thunderbird for my e-mails and RSS feed.

Simple, and it works.


January 28, 2009, 8:44 pm

@Bytes - yep, but can you use Thunderbird on any person's computer? ;)


January 28, 2009, 8:50 pm

@Gordon - but can you sync gMail to your PDA/Smartphone? Nokia PC Suite and ActiveSync/Mobile Device Center (the two I have personal experience with) certainly only sync with Outlook - which is very annoying for an exclusively Opera user!


January 28, 2009, 8:55 pm

@ChaosDefinesOrder - that's a very valid point and the primary reason left imho to stay with Outlook. That said you get free Over The Air contact and calendar syncing for iPhones and Windows Mobile based devices with NuevaSync which is pure genius.


Brian ONeill

January 28, 2009, 9:22 pm

Hi Gordon, I use outlook 2007. To be honest I am a sucker for a pretty interface, I also like the ability to copy and paste files for attachments, paste images into the message etc. I am using windows 7 beta on my shiny new dell xps studio and generally its a fantastic experience all round. I love gmail on my iphone and when i travel, but for the office i still like the desktop apps.


January 28, 2009, 10:22 pm

@Brian - that'll change in a few years ;)


January 28, 2009, 11:33 pm

Gordon, please stop using the word "gotten", it's a horrible Americanism.


January 29, 2009, 3:56 am

Seconded, I can't help reading any sentence with 'gotten' in it in a 'southern states' accent.

"Howdy ya'll! I dun gotten me a PEE SEE"

Hamish Campbell

January 29, 2009, 1:36 pm


I always like to check these types of things when they come up. Actually a British word, just has gone out of common usage in the UK and preserved in the US. Quite a common occurence in 'colonies' with the mother tongue I've noticed.

Still glad you've both gotten your pet-peeve off your respective chests.

Jay Werfalli

January 29, 2009, 1:53 pm

A TR Style Guide is in the making! Personally, I don't like the word 'gotten' - it's just not very elegant.


January 29, 2009, 7:41 pm


I know it's an English word, but as you say, it has fallen out of use or been forgotten.


I agree, it's an unwieldy word, hence my dislike. If it was a nice word I would have no issues.


January 29, 2009, 9:23 pm

At home I live in an Outlook free world, but I am reqiuired to use it at work. I have been a huge fan of web-email for more than a decade now and I'm not going back. First it was Yahoo for me, and I've had my Gmail account for years now. It's faboo.

Hamish Campbell

January 30, 2009, 2:37 am

hehee, nice one, forGOTTEN. I'm guessing that was intentional.

I'm too lazy to look up americanism now, but can it be an americanism is they didn't make it up?

I'm from NZ, and we tend to have a blend of mostly UK english and some american english (with a sprinkling of our own kiwiana styles) so we are probably less put off by that sort of stuff, though not completely.

I'll admit though we do use the word 'pants' and that probably annoys you.

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